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This week’s writing challenge is about changes that are made in an instant: “Just as we can suspend a moment in time by snapping a photograph, an instant can change our lives forever. For this week’s writing challenge: tell us about a moment when your life was changed in a split second.”

I find this a difficult topic. I wonder how candid I can be about my almost 70 year life. I like to think that I “just live my life” and for the last decade give or take that’s been true. David Kanigan posted a blog entry entitled You Regret Nothing? and I replied:

“Regrets — sure we all have regrets. That’s a cliche. Here is what Rumi says about it:

If God said,

“Rumi, pay homage to everything
that has helped you
enter my
arms,”

there would not be one experience of my life,
not one thought, not one feeling,
not any act, I
would not
bow
to.

If you are happy about where your voyage has taken you your regrets can only be conditional. But be careful — if you could change important decisions and events in your life — would the change take you off course?”

This challenge topic made me think about events, decisions, the past and causes of change in my life. I am happy about where I am now even though there are decisions I made, things I’ve done that I would not do again given the chance and would not recommend if asked. I do not regret having arrived where I am, yet there are regretful things in my past. This thought process is a fugue going on in my brain. The melody is not unpleasant, it’s persistent though and sometimes I need to turn it off.

I’m planning a series of blog entries in a separate, new blog, comprised of vignettes and memories from my life. Most of them I suspect will be points where my life changed direction. I’ll start with one here:

I was about 5 or 6 and playing in what I recall as a very large sand box with other children. Boys — we were all boys and we started playing roughly, filling toy trucks with sand and throwing the sand at each other, wrestling, fighting. The sandbox was in Smoky Park, on 95th avenue in Richmond Hill Queens, so called because at the far end of the park, the opposite end from the sandbox, there was a huge railroad yard and at the time – the 1940′s – all the locomotives were coal fired steam engines. The earth back there was completely black. By the sandbox was dust and soot but less than by Atlantic Avenue where the park ended.

I felt like a strong kid, holding my own in this childish combat. Play kept getting rougher, we were getting dirtier. Then I suddenly realized that someone could get hurt — in fact I was sure we were about to hurt each other. So I stopped. I didn’t want to rough house any more and somehow when I stopped the other kids stopped too. I don’t remember what we did — whether we simply went home or continued playing but from then on I was careful most of the time to avoid being too rough as I played.

I think about this often and have for as long as I can remember. It’s a simple single point in my life that has influenced my behavior every day since.

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